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How e-books could be the next chapter for George Mason University's library

What's black and white and red hot all over? E-books, if you asked attendees at CIL 2011. And if you didn't, that's OK. Because we did.

We found quite a few attendees were at the show for the e-book sessions, which is no surprise as they continue to grow in popularity across consumer and business sectors. In fact, last week Amazon announced its Kindle Lending Library, which will let Kindle users borrow books from 11,000 libraries in the U.S.

At CIL, one attendee our blogging team talked to was Betsy Appleton, Electronic Resources Librarian for George Mason University. She told us why e-books are on her radar, as well as what social media and online communities mean to her.

Also, here's the transcript of the video in case you're somewhere you can't pipe up the volume.

Janelle: I'm Janelle Kozyra. We are here at the CIL 2011 Conference in Washington, D.C. I am with Betsy Appleton. Hi Betsy.

Betsy: Hi.

Janelle: And Betsy is an Electronic Resources Librarian at George Mason University. So what brings you to CIL this year?

Betsy: Well, I came mostly, today was a great day for me with the e-book track that was going on today, learning a little bit more about the new and emerging models and technologies with e-books.

Janelle: You know I've heard that from several attendees so far that e-books is a big thing for them. Why is that so hot right now?

Betsy: I think it's probably the big new thing in electronic publishing. Journals have been online fairly successfully for the past, I'd say, decade at least, if not 15 years, and e-books are kind of the next step in that progression.

Janelle: So how do you see e-books folding into what George Mason University's doing?

Betsy: Oh, I see it very well. We're a very large campus in terms of student population. We have about 30,000 students headcount, and only about 5,000 of them are actually residents on campus. So it's very much a school of people that are not always present on campus, and we're able to better serve people within the library with having more online resources available to them.

Janelle: What do you think of the whole Web 2.0 and social media technology movement as it relates to libraries?

Betsy: It's interesting. As it relates to libraries. I think it has to relate to libraries to make it actually worthwhile and I think that we have to be very careful in implementing that which is actually useful to the library, not just technology for the technology's sake. That being said, I think there's a lot of potential for getting information out to students in a different way than there was just a few years ago.

Janelle: So that kind of leads to a discussion about online communities, which is another kind of big phrase circulating right now. What do you think of online communities? What does that mean to you?

Betsy: That's a very good question. When I think about communities, I, the first communities I think of aren't necessarily online. The most communities that I think of aren't necessarily online. However, the online component can be a great tool for building a community of interregional people with the same interests.

Janelle: Right, so I mean it just spans the globe. So there's communities physically, and then they go online. And it's vice versa as well. So it's kind of a whole feedback loop, I guess you could say, among your constituents.

Betsy: Having an online community is another tool in the toolbox.

Janelle: Great, thank you, Betsy. Enjoy the rest of the show.

Betsy: All right, thank you very much.

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